Star India-owned video over-the-top (OTT) platform Hotstar is likely to close the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League with a 60%-70% increase in advertising revenue, including money received from sponsorship, compared with the previous edition. Industry sources said that the ongoing IPL edition, which concludes on May 27, would have garnered Rs 350 crore–380 crore, against Rs 220 crore in the previous edition.
“With 92%-95% viewership coming from mobile, thanks to affordable data and increase in penetration of smartphones, it is the primary screen. Also, interactive games such as ‘WatchN’Play’ further enhanced engagement between the platform and viewers. Introduction of regional feeds also saw viewers tuning into the platform. For example, viewers watched matches in Tamil whenever Chennai Super Kings (CSK) played,” Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan said.
The match played between Chennai and Hyderabad on May 22 set an international benchmark with 8.26 million concurrent viewers logging onto Hotstar.
According to Mohan, the platform so far has posted a 47% jump in viewership, with 192 million viewers watching the on-going season of IPL. Last year, approximately 130 viewers had watched the T20 tourney on Hotstar.
Industry watchers point out that an increase in viewership has allowed the platform to command higher ad rates, besides selling package deals. Hotstar is understood to be charging advertisers anywhere in the range of Rs 750-1,300 cost per thousand impressions (CPM).
“As data has become affordable, along with an increase in penetration of smartphones, viewing of content has shifted to OTT platforms, which has led to increase in ad rates,” said Vineet Sodhani, CEO of Spatial Access, a media planning and audit firm.